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Art and law converge in new exhibit at State Capitol

Jan 20, 2017

First-time exhibit features Yun Shin of Orange City

DES MOINES - A new art exhibit opens today in the State Law Library in the State Capitol. Legal eagles and sharp-eyed visitors will spot it on display amid the room's ornate spiral staircases and towering shelves of books.

Created by a partnership between the State Law Library and the Iowa Arts Council,​ the State Law Library Art Exhibit features works from Iowa artists on a rotating basis beginning today with 2016 Iowa Artist Fellow Yun Shin of Orange City. The exhibit is free and open to the public 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the State Law Library in the State Capitol. The State Law Library is a division of the State Library of Iowa. The Iowa Arts Council is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to bring art into a nontraditional setting where it can inspire and reflect the work that takes place there," Iowa Arts Council Administrator Matt Harris said. "Our state law library is a beautiful work of architectural art in and of itself, so this exhibit complements the space perfectly. We are very pleased to partner with the State Law Library on this exhibit and encourage Iowans to see it."

In her work, Shin​ draws upon her experience as a South Korean immigrant living in rural Iowa. She uses the process of making art to reconstruct memory and relationships​ from her homeland​. Often, she photographs or digitally scans a a family artifact, such as a bedsheet, and then embellishes the new two-dimensional form with repetitive motifs that echo the tedium traditionally associated with women's work, such as embroidery.

The simple materials -- little more than pencils and paper -- as well as the artist's time and labor are important elements of the final product, which can reveal subtle insights about both family and personal history. Many layers lie below the surface.

"Yun Shin​'s​ art is very thoughtful and mirrors the way our patrons approach their work and conduct research," State Librarian Michael Scott said. "There is a certain degree of parallelism between the contemplative nature of her work and the law that makes the exhibit perfect in this space."

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.